I never said being bald was perfect

ARthur Black looks at the pluses and minuses of being thin on top

Guess what?  They’ve just announced a cure for baldness! 

Researchers at the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine have discovered that bald guys don’t really lose their hair — it’s merely ‘out of service’. Their study claims all bald guys actually still have hair generating stem cell embryos sleeping just under their scalps like so many dormant rhubarb bulbs. All those dozy cells need is a biologically induced wake-up call and hey, Presto! Deserts bloom again. 

Of course nobody’s figured out exactly how to stimulate those stem cells yet, but as George Cotsarelis, the chief researcher told a reporter for New Scientist magazine: “This is pretty exciting and lowers the bar for (baldness) treatment.”

Pretty exciting, indeed.  

Aren’t you excited?

Nah, me neither.

As a career skinhead who hasn’t carried a comb or fretted over dandruff for about 30 years, I’m okay with bald. Sure there’s a slightly increased risk of frostbite and sunburn, but that’s why they make hats.  And bald guys suit hats — unlike men with full heads of hair.  When a hairy guy takes off his hat his head looks like the Liberty Bell.

As a matter of fact (and pardon me for baldly pointing it out) but I am, when you get down to it, rather trendy. Three-quarters of the droopy-drawered multimillionaires who play in the National Basketball Association shave their heads in an attempt to look as cool as me.  Lots of football players, boxers and pro wrestlers ditch their head fur because a bald head makes them look, well, studlier.  

Hollywood embraced skinheads years ago. Back in the day, a male lead with vacant acreage above his eyebrows was condemned to roles like country store grocer, machine shop union steward and small loan appraiser. Yul Brynner changed all that. He looked so good bald you didn’t even want to think of him with hair. And after Brynner came Sean Connery, Samuel Jackson, Ben Kingsley, Telly Savalas, and Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Okay … also Homer Simpson, William Shatner and Mini-Me. I never said bald was perfect.

I mentioned the new so-called cure for baldness to a sarcastic (and fulsomely thatched) pal down at the coffee shop.  He smirked.

“Gimme a break,” he said.   “You know that if you could have a full head of hair tomorrow without surgery or drugs or a taxidermist, you’d jump at the chance.”

Hmm. Would I?  

The answer is yes — on one condition.  That I could have hair like Jeff Bridges. Have you seen him in a movie where he sports a full head of hair — like The Fabulous Baker Boys or Crazy Heart?  The man looks like he’s got a full-grown male African lion sitting on his head.

But of course my hair would not grow in like Jeff Bridges’ hair does. I remember how my hair looked when I had it. My hair would grow in like a cross between Bride of Frankenstein and an abandoned heron’s nest.

So my final answer to my sarcastic friend is, no, I wouldn’t jump at the chance to have a full head of hair. 

I’ve actually reached a point in my life where I’ve been without hair longer than I was with it and the truth is, I like being smooth of pate.  

But that’s just me. I recognize that some men have their identities wrapped up in what grows out of their skull.

Like the rich, bald Californian who swooped into a barbershop and said to the barber: “I was going to have a hair transplant but I couldn’t bear the idea of the pain. Toupees and wigs look silly on me — I WANT REAL HAIR!”

“In fact,” he told the barber, “if you can make my hair look like yours without causing me any pain, I’ll pay you $5,000!”

So naturally the barber whipped out his razor and shaved his own head.

 

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